April 10, 2020

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/4/2016 (1443 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

National Poetry Month: Dennis Cooley reads groundhog





first alarm when the neighbour arrives

he's friendly enough, pleasant actually,


but you can tell something is up

when he hurries his middle-linebacker frame

across the driveway into the yard closes fast

on the step stops to peer as if he sees there

a fullback waiting for a draw play


turns out he has cornered our friendly ground hog

who had borrowed a home under the step

and having shrugged off his shadow ambles the yard

hangs around to watch our daughters come and go

greets me when over the stones i arrive

chunky creature ready to sprawl

splat on his stomach

for ceremony of sun and the love of company

sheer pleasure in a corner of summer

when the mail carrier arrives to find him

splayed on the step


neighbour alarmed that the fat little guy

would tunnel like a sapper under his house

blow it possibly in one monstrous explosion or,

more likely, drag it slowly into the clay that clogs

the bottom of Lake Agassiz


middle-aged line backer instincts intact

scourge now of the fat little guy who wants

only to lie in the sun


Dennis Cooley grew up in Saskatchewan and has lived most of his life in Winnipeg. The "groundhog" poem comes from the bestiary, a collection of animal poems he is working on.

The Winnipeg Free Press will be running poems by Manitoba poets every weekday in April to celebrate National Poetry Month. The NPM in the WFP Project was edited by Ariel Gordon.


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